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Olive oil

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Tostada de aceite
Aceitunas de Arróniz
Arróniz entre olivos
Olivo milenario
Tostada de aceite
According to mythology, Athena, the goddess of wisdom, made an olive tree grow out of a spear, and she then said: "... not only will its fruit be good to eat, but it will give an extraordinary liquid, which will be used to feed men and cure their wounds". And that is exactly what happened.

The Romans first and the Muslim civilisation later extended and improved the techniques for growing olives in the Iberian Peninsula. From the 17th and 18th centuries onwards olive oil presses occupied the entire peninsula; they were also known as almazaras (the Arab name). The year 1798 marked the start of the change from millstones to conical rollers, the latest method to produce oil.
From the 19th century onwards, industrialisation mechanised the whole process, although the basic idea is still the same.

Olives; their time and their harvest
A lot of olives are picked in autumn for table olives.A little later, at the start of the winter when the olives are ripe, the rest are picked. Their ripeness is measured on a scale of 0-7, depending on the colour of the skin and the pulp. In the Mendia de Arróniz olive press they take particular care with this because the quality of their oil is backed up by a Designation of Origin.

Most of the crop is picked manually, the most common process being stripping the leaves off and the vareado of the trees, i.e. beating them with poles. Semi-manual systems have appeared in recent years in the form of vibrating machines that make the olives fall into nets at the bottom of the tree; they are then emptied by hand into baskets.

Other information of interest
The quality of olive oil in Navarre is backed up a Designation of Origin. Either raw on salads, hot for cooking or on its own, olive oil is very much appreciated and in demand. In winter, the village of Arróniz holds a Day of the Toast for visitors with thousands of loaves of bread spread with the oil from the new harvest. In the village there is also a museum on the product.

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